When more than 2,000 Republicans arrive in Augusta for the state convention in June, their biggest job will be selecting delegates to represent them at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
But that’s just the end of the selection process that has been ongoing for months.
The process began in February when large counties held precinct-level meetings to elect delegates to the March county conventions. The number of delegates at each level is determined by a formula based on the votes for the Republican nominee from there in the previous presidential election.
The county conventions pick delegates to the district and state conventions. Preference usually goes to reward past campaign volunteers, but in many counties there were enough delegate slots for anyone wanting to go. Some of the new faces might have been relegated to being non-voting alternates.
A few counties required people to submit a political résumé to be considered as a delegate, according to Randy Evans, Georgia’s man on the Republican National Committee.
“They went through this process, but they didn’t have enough names to fill up all the slots,” he said. “So they ended up letting anyone who wanted to become a delegate.”
The 14 district conventions will be held April 16. The 12th District meeting will be in Douglas, three hours south of Augusta. Having to drive that far to arrive by 8 a.m. on a Saturday discourages some people from becoming delegates.
Usually, the district’s U.S. House representative and his or her challengers will speak, and maybe a few legislative candidates.
At the districts in metro Atlanta, statewide candidates are likely to drop in seeking support because they can get to several of them in a few hours.
Each district elects three delegates to the national convention. Then at the state convention, the remaining 34 delegates are elected.
District 12 is hosting the state convention, District Chairman Michael Welsh said events will be planned for Friday and Saturday evenings and a brunch on Sunday.
“We’re trying to make ours more of a destination, get people to stick around and enjoy the city,” he said.